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A Call to Action for Richmond Business

Article by Joshua G. Genser, Attorney-at-Law, Genser & Watkins LLP and member of the Richmond Chamber Board of Directors.

Speak out for business interest next Tuesday, May 17th.

Richmond is in the process of considering and adopting a new General Plan.  The General Plan is like the Constitution of the City: for the next ten years, all acts of the City will have to be done in accordance with the terms of the General Plan.

The proposed new General Plan has thirteen Elements, covering subjects from Land Use to Transportation, Housing to Public Health, the National Park to Open Space.  As you might imagine, the details of the General Plan have profound implications for the future of business and life in the City of Richmond.

Katrinka Ruk, the Executive Director of the Council of Industries, has read every word of the thousands of pages of the draft General Plan and she has prepared and submitted written comments on every element.  However, as we all know, no quantity of writing has the impact upon our elected officials that one person has speaking up at a public meeting.

The Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the Council of Industries, therefore, are recruiting members to speak up at future meetings of the Planning commission and the City Council, highlighting the most important issues in the draft General Plan.  It is vital that we actually get enough volunteers to make these presentations.  If you do nothing else to participate in the civic life of our City, you should participate in this effort; nothing the Chamber does in the near future could have such a dramatic impact on business in Richmond.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 17, noon to 1:30 p.m., at the Hotel Mac banquet Room upstairs.  Please come and help.

Although there are many important issues presented by the draft General Plan, perhaps the one that presents the most stark difference is the question of the land use designation of industrial property on Richmond’s northern shoreline.  There are 100 acres of land owned by four different parties (including one in which this author has an interest) that have been in industrial use for many years.  There is a movement to re-designate the land as open space, to make it impossible to develop.

Needless to say, the property owners as well as those who desire development that would bring jobs and tax revenues to Richmond are very concerned.  Not only would the re-designation remove the possibility of development, but it would, ironically, deprive the City of the parks, trails and open spaces that developers would bring as part of their projects.  Also, imagine the signal this would send to others who might be considering investing in Richmond.  Even if you think that the property would be better as open space, surely you agree that it should become that way legitimately, by being purchased by the City or by the Regional Park District, not by being taken from its owners by regulation and without compensation.

There will be a Study Session of the City Council on this very topic on May 24.  We hope you’ll be there to speak out on that, and come to the meeting on May 17 to become prepared to speak on this and other important issues.

If you would like to contact the City Council Members regarding this issue, visit the City of Richmond website for more information on how to contact them directly.

Tuesday, May 17, 12noon-1:30pm
Hotel Mac, Upstairs Banquet Room
50 Washington Avenue, Point Richmond Directions
Lunch ($30)

RSVP TO ATTEND by contacting: Katrinka Ruk, Executive Director, Council of Industries, (510)215-9325 office, kpruk@sbcglobal.net.

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